tv George W. Bush 2004 Acceptance Speech CSPAN July 10, 2016 2:10am-3:24am EDT
40 minutes. [cheers and applause] pres. nixon: mr. chairman, delegates to this convention, my fellow americans, four years ago, standing in this very place, i proudly accepted your nomination for president of the united states. with your help and with the votes of millions of americans, we won a great victory in 1968. tonight, i again proudly accept your nomination for president of the united states. let us pledge ourselves to win an even greater victory this november, in 1972.
i congratulate chairman ford. i congratulate chairman dole, anne armstrong and the hundreds of others who have laid the foundation for that victory by their work at this great convention. our platform is a dynamic program for progress for america and for peace in the world. speaking in a very personal sense, i express my deep gratitude to this convention for the tribute you have paid to the best campaigner in the nixon family, my wife pat.
[applause] in honoring her, you have honored millions of women in america who have contributed in the past and will contribute in the future so very much to better government in this country. again, as i did last night when i was not at the convention, i express the appreciation of all of the delegates and of all america for letting us see young america at its best at our convention. [applause]
[crowd chanting: "four more years!"] pres. nixon: as i express my appreciation to you, i want to say that you have inspired us with your enthusiasm, with your intelligence, with your dedication at this convention. you have made us realize that this is a year when we can prove the experts' predictions wrong, because we can set as our goal winning a majority of the new voters for our ticket this november.
i pledge to you, all of the new voters in america who are listening on television and listening here in this convention hall, that i will do everything that i can over these next 4 years to make your support be one that you can be proud of, because as i said to you last night, and i feel it very deeply in my heart: years from now i want you to look back and be able to say that your first vote was one of the best votes you ever cast in your life. mr. chairman, i congratulate the delegates to this convention for
[applause] finally, as the vice president has indicated, you have demonstrated to the nation that we can have an open convention without dividing americans into quotas. let us commit ourselves to rule out every vestige of discrimination in this country of ours. but my fellow americans, the way to end discrimination against some is not to begin discrimination against others. dividing americans into quotas is totally alien to the american
tradition. americans don't want to be part of a quota. they want to be part of america. this nation proudly calls itself the united states of america. let us reject any philosophy that would make us the divided people of america. in that spirit, i address you tonight, my fellow americans, not as a partisan of party, which would divide us, but as a partisan of principles, which can unite us. six weeks ago our opponents at their convention rejected many of the great principles of the democratic party. to those millions who have been driven out of their home in the
democratic party, we say come home. we say come home not to another party, but we say come home to the great principles we americans believe in together. and i ask you, my fellow americans, tonight to join us not in a coalition held together only by a desire to gain power. i ask you to join us as members of a new american majority bound together by our common ideals. i ask everyone listening to me
tonight-democrats, republicans, independents, to join our new majority--not on the basis of the party label you wear in your lapel, but on the basis of what you believe in your hearts. in asking for your support i shall not dwell on the record of our administration which has been praised perhaps too generously by others at this convention. we have made great progress in these past 4 years. it can truly be said that we have changed america and that america has changed the world. as a result of what we have done, america today is a better place and the world is a safer place to live in than was the case 4 years ago. we can be proud of that record, but we shall never be satisfied.
a record is not something to stand on; it is something to build on. tonight i do not ask you to join our new majority because of what we have done in the past. i ask your support of the principles i believe should determine america's future. the choice in this election is not between radical change and no change. the choice in this election is between change that works and change that won't work.
i begin with an article of faith. it has become fashionable in recent years to point up what is wrong with what is called the american system. the critics contend it is so unfair, so corrupt, so unjust, that we should tear it down and substitute something else in its place. i totally disagree. i believe in the american system. i have traveled to 80 countries in the past 25 years, and i have seen communist systems, i have seen socialist systems, i have seen systems that are half socialist and half free. every time i come home to america, i realize how fortunate we are to live in this great and
good country. every time i am reminded that we have more freedom, more opportunity, more prosperity than any people in the world, that we have the highest rate of growth of any industrial nation, that americans have more jobs at higher wages than in any country in the world; that our rate of inflation is less than that of any industrial nation, that the incomparable productivity of america's farmers has made it possible for us to launch a winning war against hunger in the united states, and that the productivity of our farmers also makes us the best fed people in the world with the lowest percentage of the family budget going to food of any country in the world.
we can be very grateful in this country that the people on welfare in america would be rich in most of the nations of the world today. now, my fellow americans, in pointing up those things, we do not overlook the fact that our system has its problems. our administration, as you know, has provided the biggest tax cut in history, but taxes are still too high. that is why one of the goals of our next administration is to reduce the property tax which is such an unfair and heavy burden on the poor, the elderly, the wage earner, the farmer, and those on fixed incomes. as all of you know, we have cut inflation in half in this administration, but we have got to cut it further.
we must cut it further so that we can continue to expand on the greatest accomplishment of our new economic policy: for the first time in 5 years wage increases in america are not being eaten up by price increases. as a result of the millions of new jobs created by our new economic policies, unemployment today in america is less than the peacetime average of the sixties, but we must continue the unparalleled increase in new jobs so that we can achieve the great goal of our new prosperity--a job for every american who wants to work, without war and without inflation. the way to reach this goal is to stay on the new road we have
charted to move america forward and not to take a sharp detour to the left, which would lead to a dead end for the hopes of the american people. this points up one of the clearest choices in this campaign. our opponents believe in a different philosophy. theirs is the politics of paternalism, where master planners in washington make decisions for people. ours is the politics of people--where people make decisions for themselves. the proposal that they have made
to pay $1,000 to every person in america insults the intelligence of the american voters. because you know that every politician's promise has a price--the taxpayer pays the bill. the american people are not going to be taken in by any scheme where government gives money with one hand and then takes it away with the other. their platform promises everything to everybody, but at an increased net in the budget of $144 billion, but listen to what it means to you, the taxpayers of the country. that would mean an increase of 50 percent in what the taxpayers of america pay. i oppose any new spending programs which will increase the tax burden on the already overburdened american taxpayer.
and they have proposed legislation which would add 82 million people to the welfare rolls. i say that instead of providing incentives for millions of more americans to go on welfare, we need a program which will provide incentives for people to get off of welfare and to get to work. we believe that it is wrong for anyone to receive more on welfare than for someone who works. let us be generous to those who can't work without increasing the tax burden of those who do work. and while we are talking about welfare, let us quit treating
our senior citizens in this country like welfare recipients. they have worked hard all of their lives to build america. and as the builders of america, they have not asked for a handout. what they ask for is what they have earned--and that is retirement in dignity and self-respect. let's give that to our senior citizens. now, when you add up the cost of all of the programs our opponents have proposed, you reach only one conclusion: they would destroy the system which has made america number one in the world economically. listen to these facts: americans today pay one-third of all of their income in taxes. if their programs were adopted, americans would pay over one-half of what they earn in taxes.
this means that if their programs are adopted, american wage earners would be working more for the government than they would for themselves. once we cross this line, we cannot turn back because the incentive which makes the american economic system the most productive in the world would be destroyed. theirs is not a new approach. it has been tried before in countries abroad, and i can tell you that those who have tried it have lived to regret it. we cannot and we will not let them do this to america. let us always be true to the principle that has made america the world's most prosperous nation--that here in america a person should get what he works
for and work for what he gets. let me illustrate the difference in our philosophies. because of our free economic system, what we have done is to build a great building of economic wealth and money in america. it is by far the tallest building in the world, and we are still adding to it. now because some of the windows are broken, they say tear it down and start again. we say, replace the windows and keep building. that is the difference. let me turn now to a second area where my beliefs are totally different from those of our opponents. four years ago crime was rising
all over america at an unprecedented rate. even our nation's capital was called the crime capital of the world. i pledged to stop the rise in crime. in order to keep that pledge, i promised in the election campaign that i would appoint judges to the federal courts, and particularly to the supreme court, who would recognize that the first civil right of every american is to be free from domestic violence. i have kept that promise. i am proud of the appointments i have made to the courts, and particularly proud of those i have made to the supreme court of the united states. and i pledge again tonight, as i did 4 years ago, that whenever i have the opportunity to make more appointments to the courts, i shall continue to appoint judges who share my philosophy that we must strengthen the
peace forces as against the criminal forces in the united states. we have launched an all-out offensive against crime, against narcotics, against permissiveness in our country. i want the peace officers across america to know that they have the total backing of their president in their fight against crime. my fellow americans, as we move toward peace abroad, i ask you to support our programs which will keep the peace at home. now, i turn to an issue of
overriding importance not only to this election, but for generations to come--the progress we have made in building a new structure of peace in the world. peace is too important for partisanship. there have been five presidents in my political lifetime--franklin d. roosevelt, harry truman, dwight eisenhower, john f. kennedy, and lyndon johnson. they had differences on some issues, but they were united in their belief that where the security of america or the peace of the world is involved we are not republicans, we are not democrats. we are americans, first, last, and always. these five presidents were united in their total opposition to isolation for america and in their belief that the interests of the united states and the interests of world peace require that america be strong enough and intelligent enough to assume
the responsibilities of leadership in the world. they were united in the conviction that the united states should have a defense second to none in the world. they were all men who hated war and were dedicated to peace. but not one of these five men, and no president in our history, believed that america should ask an enemy for peace on terms that would betray our allies and destroy respect for the united states all over the world. as your president, i pledge that i shall always uphold that proud bipartisan tradition. standing in this convention hall 4 years ago, i pledged to seek an honorable end to the war in vietnam. we have made great progress toward that end. we have brought over half a
million men home, and more will be coming home. we have ended america's ground combat role. no draftees are being sent to vietnam. we have reduced our casualties by 98 percent. we have gone the extra mile, in fact we have gone tens of thousands of miles trying to seek a negotiated settlement of the war. we have offered a cease-fire, a total withdrawal of all american forces, an exchange of all prisoners of war, internationally supervised free elections with the communists participating in the elections and in the supervision. there are three things, however, that we have not and that we will not offer. we will never abandon our prisoners of war.
honorable peace in vietnam. from a political standpoint they suggest that since i was not in office when over a half million american men were sent there, that i should end the war by agreeing to impose a communist government on the people of south vietnam and just blame the whole catastrophe on my predecessors. this might be good politics, but it would be disastrous to the cause of peace in the world. if, at this time, we betray our allies, it will discourage our friends abroad and it will encourage our enemies to engage in aggression. in areas like the mideast, which are danger areas, small nations who rely on the friendship and support of the united states would be in deadly jeopardy. to our friends and allies in europe, asia, the mideast, and latin america, i say the united states will continue its great bipartisan tradition--to stand by our friends and never to desert them.
now in discussing vietnam, i have noted that in this election year there has been a great deal of talk about providing amnesty for those few hundred americans who chose to desert their country rather than to serve it in vietnam. i think it is time that we put the emphasis where it belongs. the real heroes are 2 1/2 million young americans who chose to serve their country rather than desert it.
i say to you tonight, in these times when there is so much of a tendency to run down those who have served america in the past and who serve it today, let us give those who serve in our armed forces and those who have served in vietnam the honor and the respect that they deserve and that they have earned. finally, in this connection, let one thing be clearly understood in this election campaign: the american people will not tolerate any attempt by our enemies to interfere in the cherished right of the american voter to make his own decision with regard to what is best for
america without outside intervention. now it is understandable that vietnam has been a major concern in foreign policy. but we have not allowed the war in vietnam to paralyze our capacity to initiate historic new policies to construct a lasting and just peace in the world. when the history of this period is written, i believe it will be recorded that our most significant contributions to peace resulted from our trips to peking and to moscow. the dialogue that we have begun with the people's republic of
china has reduced the danger of war and has increased the chance for peaceful cooperation between two great peoples. within the space of 4 years in our relations with the soviet union, we have moved from confrontation to negotiation, and then to cooperation in the interest of peace. we have taken the first step in limiting the nuclear arms race. we have laid the foundation for further limitations on nuclear weapons and eventually of reducing the armaments in the nuclear area. we can thereby not only reduce the enormous cost of arms for both our countries, but we can increase the chances for peace. more than on any other single issue, i ask you, my fellow americans, to give us the chance to continue these great initiatives that can contribute so much to the future of peace in the world. it can truly be said that as a
result of our initiatives, the danger of war is less today than it was; the chances for peace are greater. but a note of warning needs to be sounded. we cannot be complacent. our opponents have proposed massive cuts in our defense budget which would have the inevitable effect of making the united states the second strongest nation in the world. for the united states unilaterally to reduce its strength with the naive hope that other nations would do likewise would increase the danger of war in the world. it would completely remove any incentive of other nations to agree to a mutual limitation or reduction of arms. the promising initiatives we have undertaken to limit arms would be destroyed. the security of the united states and all the nations in the world who depend upon our friendship and support would be threatened.
let's look at the record on defense expenditures. we have cut spending in our administration. it now takes the lowest percentage of our national product in 20 years. we should not spend more on defense than we need. but we must never spend less than we need. what we must understand is, spending what we need on defense will cost us money. spending less than we need could cost us our lives or our freedom. so tonight, my fellow americans, i say, let us take risks for peace, but let us never risk the security of the united states of america.
it is for that reason that i pledge that we will continue to seek peace and the mutual reduction of arms. the united states, during this period, however, will always have a defense second to none. there are those who believe that we can entrust the security of america to the good will of our adversaries. those who hold this view do not know the real world. we can negotiate limitation of arms, and we have done so. we can make agreements to reduce the danger of war, and we have done so. but one unchangeable rule of international diplomacy that i have learned over many, many years is that, in negotiations between great powers, you can only get something if you have something to give in return.
that is why i say tonight: let us always be sure that when the president of the united states goes to the conference table, he never has to negotiate from weakness. there is no such thing as a retreat to peace. my fellow americans, we stand today on the threshold of one of the most exciting and challenging eras in the history of relations between nations. we have the opportunity in our time to be the peacemakers of the world, because the world trusts and respects us and because the world knows that we shall only use our power to defend freedom, never to destroy
it; to keep the peace, never to break it. a strong america is not the enemy of peace; it is the guardian of peace. the initiatives that we have begun can result in reducing the danger of arms, as well as the danger of war which hangs over the world today. even more important, it means that the enormous creative energies of the russian people and the chinese people and the american people and all the great peoples of the world can be turned away from production of war and turned toward production for peace. in america it means that we can undertake programs for progress at home that will be just as exciting as the great
initiatives we have undertaken in building a new structure of peace abroad. my fellow americans, the peace dividend that we hear so much about has too often been described solely in monetary terms--how much money we could take out of the arms budget and apply to our domestic needs. by far the biggest dividend, however, is that achieving our goal of a lasting peace in the world would reflect the deepest hopes and ideals of all of the american people. speaking on behalf of the american people, i was proud to be able to say in my television address to the russian people in may: we covet no one else's territory. we seek no dominion over any other nation. we seek peace not only for ourselves, but for all the people of the world.
this dedication to idealism runs through america's history. during the tragic war between the states, abraham lincoln was asked whether god was on his side. he replied, "my concern is not whether god is on our side, but whether we are on god's side." may that always be our prayer for america. we hold the future of peace in the world and our own future in our hands. let us reject therefore the policies of those who whine and whimper about our frustrations
and call on us to turn inward let us not turn away from greatness. the chance america now has to lead the way to a lasting peace in the world may never come again. with faith in god and faith in ourselves and faith in our country, let us have the vision and the courage to seize the moment and meet the challenge before it slips away. on your television screen last night, you saw the cemetery in leningrad i visited on my trip to the soviet union--where 300,000 people died in the siege of that city during world war ii. at the cemetery i saw the picture of a 12-year-old girl.
she was a beautiful child. her name was tanya. i read her diary. it tells the terrible story of war. in the simple words of a child she wrote of the deaths of the members of her family. zhenya in december. grannie in january. then leka. then uncle vasya. then uncle lyosha. then mama in may. and finally--these were the last words in her diary: "all are dead. only tanya is left." let us think of tanya and of the other tanyas and their brothers and sisters everywhere in russia, in china, in america, as we proudly meet our responsibilities for leadership in the world in a way worthy of a great people. i ask you, my fellow americans,
to join our new majority not just in the cause of winning an election, but in achieving a hope that mankind has had since the beginning of civilization. let us build a peace that our children and all the children of the world can enjoy for generations to come. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] announcer: president jimmy carter faced a bill within his own party when massachusetts senator ted kennedy challenged him to the democratic nomination during the 1980 presidential election. after a failed attempt to release delegates from
commitments, kennedy ended his the democraticng national convention in new york city. a few days later, president carter would accept the nomination of a go on to lose his reelection to former california governor ronald reagan. this speech from president carter is 50 minutes. pres carter: fellow democrats, fellow citizens, i thank you for the nomination you've offered me, and i especially thank you for choosing as my running mate the best partner any president ever had, fritz mondale.
with gratitude and with determination i accept your nomination, and i am proud to run on the progressive and sound platform that you have hammered out at this convention. fritz and i will mount a campaign that defines the real issues, a campaign that responds to the intelligence of the american people, a campaign that talks sense. and we're going to beat the republicans in november.
we'll win because we are the party of a great president who knew how to get reelected -- franklin delano roosevelt. and we are the party of a courageous fighter who knew how to give 'em hell -- harry truman. and as truman said, he just told the truth and they thought it was hell. and we're the party of a gallant man of spirit -- john fitzgerald kennedy. and we're the party of a great
leader of compassion -- lyndon baines johnson, and the party of a great man who should have been president, who would have been one of the greatest presidents in history -- hubert horatio hornblower -- humphrey. i have appreciated what this convention has said about senator humphrey, a great man who epitomized the spirit of the democratic party. and i would like to say that we are also the party of governor jerry brown and senator edward kennedy.
i'd like to say a personal word to senator kennedy. ted, you're a tough competitor and a superb campaigner, and i can attest to that. your speech before this convention was a magnificent statement of what the democratic party is and what it means to the people of this country and why a democratic victory is so important this year. i reach out to you tonight, and i reach out to all those who supported you in your valiant and passionate campaign. ted, your party needs and i need you.
and i need your idealism and your dedication working for us. there is no doubt that even greater service lies ahead of you, and we are grateful to you and to have your strong partnership now in a larger cause to which your own life has been dedicated. i thank you for your support; we'll make great partners this fall in whipping the republicans. we are democrats and we've had
our differences, but we share a bright vision of america's future -- a vision of a good life for all our people, a vision of a secure nation, a just society, a peaceful world, a strong america -- confident and proud and united. and we have a memory of franklin roosevelt, 40 years ago, when he said that there are times in our history when concerns over our personal lives are overshadowed by our concern over "what will happen to the county we have known." this is such a time, and i can tell you that the choice to be made this year can transform our own personal lives and the life of our country as well.
during the last presidential campaign, i crisscrossed this country and i listened to thousands and thousands of people-housewives and farmers, teachers and small business leaders, workers and students, the elderly and the poor, people of every race and every background and every walk of life. it was a powerful experience -- a total immersion in the human reality of america. and i have now had another kind of total immersion -- being president of the united states of america. let me talk for a moment about what that job is like and what i've learned from it. i've learned that only the most complex and difficult task comes before me in the oval office. no easy answers are found there,
because no easy questions come there. i've learned that for a president, experience is the best guide to the right decisions. i'm wiser tonight than i was 4 years ago. and i have learned that the presidency is a place of compassion. my own heart is burdened for the troubled americans. the poor and the jobless and the afflicted -- they've become part of me. my thoughts and my prayers for our hostages in iran are as though they were my own sons and daughters. the life of every human being on earth can depend on the experience and judgment and vigilance of the person in the
oval office. the president's power for building and his power for destruction are awesome. and the power's greatest exactly where the stakes are highest -- in matters of war and peace. and i've learned something else, something that i have come to see with extraordinary clarity: above all, i must look ahead, because the president of the united states is the steward of the nation's destiny. he must protect our children and the children they will have and the children of generations to follow. he must speak and act for them. that is his burden and his glory. and that is why a president
cannot yield to the shortsighted demands, no matter how rich or powerful the special interests might be that make those demands. and that's why the president cannot bend to the passions of the moment, however popular they might be. that's why the president must sometimes ask for sacrifice when his listeners would rather hear the promise of comfort. the president is a servant of today, but his true constituency is the future. that's why the election of 1980 is so important. some have said it makes no
difference who wins this election. they are wrong. this election is a stark choice between two men, two parties, two sharply different pictures of what america is and what the world is, but it's more than that -- it's a choice between two futures. the year 2000 is just less than 20 years away, just four presidential elections after this one. children born this year will come of age in the 21st century. the time to shape the world of the year 2000 is now.
the decisions of the next few years will set our course, perhaps an irreversible course, and the most important of all choices will be made by the american people at the polls less than 3 months from tonight. the choice could not be more clear nor the consequences more crucial. in one of the futures we can choose, the future that you and i have been building together, i see security and justice and peace. i see a future of economic security -- security that will come from tapping our own great resources of oil and gas, coal and sunlight, and from building the tools and technology and factories for a revitalized economy based on jobs and stable prices for everyone.
i see a future of justice -- the justice of good jobs, decent health care, quality education, a full opportunity for all people regardless of color or language or religion; the simple human justice of equal rights for all men and for all women, guaranteed equal rights at last under the constitution of the united states of america. and i see a future of peace -- a
peace born of wisdom and based on a fairness toward all countries of the world, a peace guaranteed both by american military strength and by american moral strength as well. that is the future i want for all people, a future of confidence and hope and a good life. it's the future america must choose, and with your help and with your commitment, it is the future america will choose. but there is another possible future. in that other future i see despair -- despair of millions who would struggle for equal
opportunity and a better life and struggle alone. and i see surrender -- the surrender of our energy future to the merchants of oil, the surrender of our economic future to a bizarre program of massive tax cuts for the rich, service cuts for the poor, and massive inflation for everyone. and i see risk -- the risk of international confrontation, the risk of an uncontrollable, unaffordable, and unwinnable nuclear arms race. no one, democrat or republican either, consciously seeks such a future, and i do not claim that my opponent does.
but i do question the disturbing commitments and policies already made by him and by those with him who have now captured control of the republican party. the consequences of those commitments and policies would drive us down the wrong road. it's up to all of us to make sure america rejects this alarming and even perilous destiny. the only way to build a better future is to start with the realities of the present. but while we democrats grapple with the real challenges of a real world, others talk about a world of tinsel and make -- believe. let's look for a moment at their make -- believe world. in their fantasy america, inner -- city people and farm workers and laborers do not exist.
women, like children, are to be seen but not heard. the problems of working women are simply ignored. the elderly do not need medicare. the young do not need more help in getting a better education. workers do not require the guarantee of a healthy and a safe place to work. in their fantasy world, all the complex global changes of the world since world war ii have never happened. in their fantasy america, all problems have simple solutions -- simple and wrong.
it's a make-believe world, a world of good guys and bad guys, where some politicians shoot first and ask questions later. no hard choices, no sacrifice, no tough decisions -- it sounds too good to be true, and it is. the path of fantasy leads to irresponsibility. the path of reality leads to hope and peace. the two paths could not be more different, nor could the futures to which they lead. let's take a hard look at the consequences of our choice.
you and i have been working toward a more secure future by rebuilding our military strength -- steadily, carefully, and responsibly. the republicans talk about military strength, but they were in office for 8 out of the last 11 years, and in the face of a growing soviet threat they steadily cut real defense spending by more than a third. we've reversed the republican decline in defense. every year since i've been president we've had real increases in our commitment to a stronger nation, increases which are prudent and rational. there is no doubt that the united states of america can meet a threat from the soviet union.
our modernized strategic forces, a revitalized nato, the trident submarine, the cruise missile, the rapid deployment force -- all these guarantee that we will never be second to any nation. deeds, not words; fact, not fiction. we must and we will continue to build our own defenses. we must and we will continue to seek balanced reductions in nuclear arms. the new leaders of the republican party, in order to close the gap between their rhetoric and their record, have now promised to launch an all --
out nuclear arms race. this would negate any further effort to negotiate a strategic arms limitation agreement. there can be no winners in such an arms race, and all the people of the earth can be the losers. the republican nominee advocates abandoning arms control policies which have been important and supported by every democratic president since harry, truman, and also by every republican president since dwight d. eisenhower. this radical and irresponsible course would threaten our security and could put the whole world in peril. you and i must never let this come to pass.
it's simple to call for a new arms race, but when armed aggression threatens world peace, tough-sounding talk like that is not enough. a president must act responsibly. when soviet troops invaded afghanistan, we moved quickly to take action. i suspended some grain sales to to the soviet union. i called for draft registration. and i joined wholeheartedly with the congress and with the u.s.
-- and i joined wholeheartedly with the congress and with the u.s. olympic committee and led more than 60 other nations in boycotting the big propaganda show in russia -- the moscow olympics. the republican leader opposed two of these forceful but peaceful actions, and he waffled on the third. but when we asked him what he would do about aggression in
southwest asia, he suggested blockading cuba. [laughter] even his running mate wouldn't go along with that. he doesn't seem to know what to do with the russians. he's not sure if he wants to feed them or play with them or fight with them. as i look back at my first term, i'm grateful that we've had a country for the full 4 years of peace.
and that's what we're going to have for the next 4 years -- peace. it's only common sense that if america is to stay secure and at peace, we must encourage others to be peaceful as well. as you know, we've helped in zimbabwe-rhodesia where we've stood firm for racial justice and democracy. and we have also helped in the middle east. some have criticized the camp david accords and they've criticized some delays in the implementation of the middle east peace treaty. well, before i became president there was no camp david accords
but afterward, they talked face-to-face with each other across a peace table, and they also communicated through their own ambassadors in cairo and tel aviv. now that's the kind of future we're offering -- of peace to the middle east if the democrats are reelected in the fall. i am very proud that nearly half the aid that our country has ever given to israel in the 32 years of her existence has come during my administration. unlike our republican predecessors, we have never stopped nor slowed that aid to israel. and as long as i am president, we will never do so.
our commitment is clear: security and peace for israel; peace for all the peoples of the middle east. but if the world is to have a future of freedom as well as peace, america must continue to defend human rights. now listen to this. the new republican leaders oppose our human rights policy. they want to scrap it. they seem to think it's naive for america to stand up for freedom and democracy. just what do they think we should stand up for?
ask the former political prisoners who now live in freedom if we should abandon our stand on human rights. ask the dissidents in the soviet union about our commitment to human rights. ask the hungarian americans, ask the polish americans, listen to pope john paul ii. ask those who are suffering for the sake of justice and liberty around the world. ask the millions who've fled tyranny if america should stop speaking out for human principles. ask the american people. i tell you that as long as i am president, we will hold high the banner of human rights, and you can depend on it.
here at home, the choice between the two futures is equally important. in the long run, nothing is more crucial to the future of america than energy. nothing was so disastrously neglected in the past. long after the 1973 arab oil embargo, the republicans in the white house had still done nothing to meet the threat to the national security of our nation. then, as now, their policy was dictated by the big oil companies. we democrats fought hard to rally our nation behind a comprehensive energy policy and
a good program, a new foundation for challenging and exciting progress. now, after 3 years of struggle, we have that program. the battle to secure america's energy future has been fully and finally joined. americans have cooperated with dramatic results. we've reversed decades of dangerous and growing dependence on foreign oil. we are now importing 20 percent less oil -- that is 1 1/2 million barrels of oil every day less than the day i took office. and with our new energy policy now in place, we can discover more, produce more, create more, and conserve more energy, and we